Woodland Starbucks workers go on strike, closing store for day

Woodland Starbucks workers go on strike, closing store for day
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:26 AM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A group of workers at the Starbucks store on Woodland Ave. in Duluth went on strike Wednesday, closing the store for the day.

Over a dozen workers and supporters were standing along Woodland Ave. outside the store, holding signs advocating for better staffing and working conditions.

Among the issues mentioned at the store, a store supervisor said short staffing and health and safety are of major concern currently.

”With our low staff issues, we’ve had lots of tasks being missed including important cleaning tasks which has led to many recurring issues,” Austin Lage, a store supervisor, said.

Employees at the location claim pests like mice and insects have been a problem at the store, stating it’s unsafe for them to handle food.

Workers at the Duluth store, along with other workers across the country are asking the coffee giant to give them a better contract.

Workers at the store said they plan to vote to unionize.

A majority of workers at the store have to vote in favor of the motion to begin the unionizing process.

If the Woodland Ave. shop workers vote in favor of unionizing, they’d need to vote again within the next six to eight weeks to finalize a union.

Northern News Now reached out to the manager of the store, they referred us to Starbucks corporate for comment.

In a statement, the company said:

“We have nearly 10,000 stores open right now delighting our customers with the joy of Red Cup Day. Currently, there are fewer than 100 stores where some partners have chosen to participate in protest activities, but the majority of those stores are open and serving customers.

Will also reinforce that Starbucks has a long history of surprising and delighting our customers with periodic offers and promotions such as Double Star Days, Thursdays, and Red Cup Day. Scheduling for promotional days varies year-over-year, but they have been consistently used by the company throughout our history to engage with and delight our customers.

We understand that these promotional days change store patterns and traffic, and that’s why our retail leaders have the flexibility to build and adjust staffing schedules to reflect the unique and dynamic needs of each store — balancing store resources and expected customer demand to ensure partners are on the floor when they’re needed most. Notably, our store schedules are created three weeks in advance with our partners’ availability and preferences at the forefront. Our stores are often provided additional labor hours to augment staffing in support of planned promotional days, including for Red Cup Day.”

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